Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I was there and not here

It's poor Anthony's turn with the wicked virus (fitting, after he read in yesterday's paper there's a viral bronchitis going around). Since I had a light surgery schedule, I let him sleep in and took the kids to school myself.

Colin usually starts every day by asking me, "You taking me to school?" On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays when I say, "No, it's Daddy's turn," the wailing usually ensues. I don't know why; I know Anthony doesn't beat them on the way to school or anything. At least not anymore! (just kidding).

So, this morning I told Colin, surprise! I'll be taking you! He said, yea! And, will you pick me up?

No. Wailing ensues.

I tried to explain I had to work, taking care of the sick animals, but he was not consoled. Oh, well.

I was sorry when I called at 7 pm, my usual get-home-from-work-time, and said, "Guess what? I'm just now leaving." Anthony sighed, weary from kid wrangling and virus fighting, and said, "I'll get the kids inside. They are waiting for you on the front porch."

Oh, man. It is difficult to explain why you are gone from your loved ones, taking care of sick animals. That sounds so trivial in a way, unless you realize I stayed to diagnose a tough case and help someone come to terms with the fact that the most constant companion of their life for the past 10 years is dying, is suffering in pain, and it is time to stop. You cannot rush a conversation like that, especially if you're quite fond of the little guy yourself, after treating him for 2+ years.

And how do I explain to my family I was the lucky one, the first of three doctors to leave. We all had terminal patients to diagnose in the final hours of our shifts and bad news to deliver after closing. One of the other doctors was supposed to leave at 1 pm, had afternoon family plans, and was still there when I left. The other very pregnant doctor had the bad news, an emergency with a puppy, and an irrationally irate client to deal with! I got off easy (relatively).

Still, it's a great job, and one that I know we all love, even when it delays us from our family members. We are grateful when they understand.


Emily said...

Sorry Anthony has the bug now.

One of my dear friends, also a working mother, told me that being a working mother makes her a better mother. It also sets for them a great example. The wails are probably harder on you than them.

ColeBugsmommy said...

A mother's guilt is never ending. I feel guilty when I'm at work and when I'm home with Cole I feel guilty I am at home. I feel like I'm always torn between two places. Luckily nights like last night don't happen too often. Hope you had a nice day today.

Joey said...

Kareen & I are two peas in a pod. I was so tired when I finally got home sometime around 8 that I barely played w/ the kids before they were shuffled into bed, ate a quick supper, then fell asleep on the couch at 9:15. Today was a complete reversal of yesterday's workload. Poor Dr. B...3 of her 7 appointments that actually showed up today were euthanasias:(